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Protocols for pressure ulcer prevention: are they evidence-based?


L.M. Chaves: e-mail:


chaves l.m., grypdonck m.h.f. & defloor t. (2010) Protocols for pressure ulcer prevention: are they evidence-based? Journal of Advanced Nursing66(3), 562–572.


Aim.  This study is a report of a study to determine the quality of protocols for pressure ulcer prevention in home care in the Netherlands.

Background.  If pressure ulcer prevention protocols are evidence-based and practitioners use them correctly in practice, this will result a reduction in pressure ulcers. Very little is known about the evidence-based content and quality of the pressure ulcer prevention protocols.

Method.  In 2008, current pressure ulcer prevention protocols from 24 home-care agencies in the Netherlands were evaluated. A checklist developed and validated by two pressure ulcer prevention experts was used to assess the quality of the protocols, and weighted and unweighted quality scores were computed and analysed using descriptive statistics.

Results.  The 24 pressure ulcer prevention protocols had a mean weighted quality score of 63·38 points out of a maximum of 100 (sd 5). The importance of observing the skin at the pressure points at least once a day was emphasized in 75% of the protocols. Only 42% correctly warned against the use of materials that were ‘less effective or that could potentially cause harm’.

Conclusion.  Pressure ulcer prevention commands a reasonable amount of attention in home care, but the incidence of pressure ulcers and lack of a consistent, standardized document for use in actual practice indicate a need for systematic implementation of national pressure ulcer prevention standards in the Netherlands to ensure adherence to the established protocols.